Interview of the Ambassador of Ukraine H.E. Valerii Vasyliev
to the “Daily Trust” newspaper
1. How can you describe the relationship between Ukraine and Nigeria?
The political, economic, trade and cultural relationship between our two states had been prospectively and gradually developing. Both Ukraine and Nigeria continues to invest a lot of efforts into positive increasing of this progress.
In the history of our bilateral relations, there are many positive examples of cooperation in the framework of the international organizations and UN peacekeeping operations on the African continent.
The dynamic development of the Ukraine-Nigeria trade and economic relations, tendency to the growth of volumes of trade turnover made Nigeria as one of Ukrainian key partners in Africa. During last year the trade volume has positively changed towards the increasing. Thus, in 2012 it raised up to 280.3 million USD and increase by 24,4 %. During the seven months of this year, mutual trade turnover amounted to 204,6 million USD or climbed 15 % to the same period of the previous year.
I am sure that the opportunities of trade and economic cooperation between Ukraine and Nigeria are far from being exhausted. Powerful industrial and technological potential of Ukraine can be very helpful for Nigeria in intensifying its industrial development, in particular, for the developing metallurgical branch, expansion of the electric power generating facilities network, the development of the transport infrastructure, food-processing industry.
We positively consider the prospects of cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, science and space exploration, in the field of culture, education and establishing direct relations between universities and institutes of the two countries.
2. Specialists from Ukraine will soon begin the construction of a thermo-electric power station in Ajaokuta that would supply electric power not only for the plant, but for the local inhabitants as well, how soon will the project start and is it part of Ukraine contribution to the bilateral relations between both countries or would Nigeria pay for it?
The restoration of a thermo-electric power station is the first and a very essential part of a phased plan of the reactivation of the Ajaokuta metallurgical plant.
I suppose that the local inhabitants will benefit from the reactivation of metallurgical plant and not only from electricity supplying increase but from creation of new labor places in a region, grows of prosperity of the local community also and this cooperation will be benefit for both sides.
3. In what area of Nigeria economy do you think Ukraine business community is interested in?
Beside the projects in the metallurgical industry Ukrainian business can be also involved in the Nigerian mining complex, construction of industrial enterprises and plant as well as objects of the power generation and distribution, to the oil and gas pipelines construction, road and railway infrastructure development, sphere of civil engineering and other sectors of Nigerian economy.
4. Learnt there are many Ukrainian industries in Nigeria, how well are they doing?
For this time Ukrainian business community in Nigeria is not such a widely represented like we expect to be. Most of registered here Ukrainian companies operates in the sphere of metallurgy, civil and industrial construction.
No wonder Nigeria is one of the attractive countries for doing business and in nearest future we predict grows in quantity and diversification of Ukrainian industrials installing they business in Nigeria.
5. How can Ukraine contribute to the development of Nigeria energy and agricultural sectors?
Ukraine is a big country with well developed power system consisting from Nuclear power plants, hydroelectric and thermoelectric power stations, wide range of electricity distributing companies. Ukraine exports electricity to the neighbor countries.
Ukrainian companies have a huge and invaluable experience of the power plants construction and modernization as well as installation of the electricity distribution networks all around the world.
Taking into consideration that Nigerian government applies substantial efforts to develop the power infrastructure in the country Ukraine can propose its great experience and capacity to extend the Nigerian power network. Moreover, some Ukrainian companies are involved already in to the negotiations with Nigerian government and business-circles on different power project. I hope, recently we will have opportunity to subscribe one of the projects us successful example of bilateral fruitful cooperation.
Ukraine and Nigeria established good relations in the agricultural sector of cooperation. It is not a secret that Ukraine is one of the largest suppliers of fertilizers to Nigeria.
Supply and possible manufacturing of the agricultural machinery, cooperation between research institutes in the field of soils and crops studying, zoning, construction of different type of warehouse space, the creation of capacities for processing agricultural products, this is just a shot list of activities that can expand the boundaries of mutually beneficial partnerships between two countries.
6. What are the Ukraine's investment potentials and how do you attract investors to invest in Ukraine?
Investment potential of Ukraine is based on the advantages of investing in Ukraine, among the main are worth noting: one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe; high scientific and educational potential - powerful network of universities and research centres; a competitive skilled labour force - Ukraine keeps one of the leading place in the world in number of certified professionals in the field of hi-tech; strategic advantages of location- Ukraine is at the crossroads of trade routes East-West and North-South; widely developed transport infrastructure - railways, ports in the Black Sea and the pan-European transport corridors; large number of investor success of leading international companies.
Nowadays, Ukraine pays great attention to realize its potential and encourage foreign investments. The Parliament of Ukraine has approved a foreign investment law allowing non-residents to purchase businesses and property, to repatriate revenue and profits, and to receive compensation if the property is nationalized by a future government.
Moreover, Ukrainian Government started the program of “Investment reform of Ukraine” in the frame of which the State Agency for Investment and National projects of Ukraine was set. It is aiming for a radical improvement of the investment climate and the formation of the high-quality investment proposals,.
The large-scale economic projects which have the strategic importance for the entire sectors of the Ukrainian economy like “LNG-terminal”, “Industrial parks of Ukraine”, “Technopolis” formed the list of the “National Projects”. The state has assumed the function of preparation of start-up of this projects (financing feasibility study, land allocation, elimination of regulatory obstacles, and in some cases – also provided the state guarantees). Investment opportunities and current business projects include but not limited to: agriculture, banking sector, financial services: insurance and leasing, software development, health care, sports and recreation infrastructure, real estate market.
Also Ukraine has a number of tax incentives for the investors. Investment climate is a set of economic, legal, regulatory, political and other factors that ultimately determine the investment risk and the possibility of their effective use.
This year Ukrainian Government is launching the 1st International Annual Business Conference “ABC: Ukraine & Partners”. The Conference took place on June 13-14, 2013 in Kyiv. Nigerian delegation was one of the biggest among another 53 delegation from all around the world participating in this event.
7, There are cases of Nigerians in prisons abroad, do we have Nigerians in Ukraine prison?
Embassy of Ukraine doesn’t possess any official information about Nigerians in Ukrainian prisons but we can not exclude that there are some cases.
8. If there are is there any agreement between Nigeria and your country to transfer them back here to serve their jail term?
The draft agreement for the repatriation now is under consideration of the Governments of Nigeria and Ukraine. It will be one of the topics of discussion in future political consultation.
9. How many Nigerian students do we have in Ukraine schools and how easy is it to school in your country?
According to the data provided by Ukrainian Immigration Service currently it’s around 6000 Nigerian students studying in Ukraine. In 2012 about 800 students from Nigeria started studying in Ukraine. Each year from 15 to 20 scholarships were granted by Ukrainian Government for Nigerian students.
Ukrainian education is very qualified and then popular all around the world, especially in medical and technical disciplines. But that`s mean that Ukrainian teachers expect some advanced knowledge from the students. No one will teach you the basics things and sometimes this creates difficulties for Nigerian students who lack basic education from the secondary school. Also one the most difficult factor is the weather condition, last two winters was extremely cold and snowfall. That is why we ask from all applicants for a study visa in Ukraine to get maximum knowledge of the country and environment before they go.
Due to the increased number of requests on the part of Nigerians regarding the issue of student’s visas by the Consular section of I would like to inform the readers of “Daly Trust” about following: the Embassy of Ukraine has never authorized any unit, organization, agency, or person as agent for Ukraine visa application; to avoid crowds and to make process of acquiring visa interview more transparent - electronic system of registration for the interview have been installed (visa-app.com.ua) at the Embassy.
I would like also to inform yours reader that visa fees for year 2013 are following: single entry visa – 85 USD; double entry visa – 130 USD; multiple entry visa – 200 USD. Visa is issued within 15 days (in some cases it can be prolonged to 30 days). Express visa is issued within 7 days and double fee is charged. According to Ukraine’s legislations in case of refusal visa fees is not refundable.
All additional information about visa fees and requirements are located at the Embassy web site http://nigeria.mfa.gov.ua/en/visas and are updated on regular basis.
10. There are reported cases of maltreatment of Nigerian students in Ukraine some times back, what was there offences and why maltreating them?
Embassy of Ukraine doesn’t possess any official information about cases of maltreatment to Nigerian students.
11. What is the main thrust of Ukraine foreign policy Nigeria can learn from?
Ukraine is a respectively young Country that on August 24, will celebrate only 22nd Anniversary of its Independence but, nevertheless it was one of the founder of the United Nations in a year 1945.
So, Ukraine conducts considered, consistent and purposeful activity in foreign policy, accordingly, main ways of its foreign policy in the whole stay invariable from the time when independence was proclaimed in the August 1991.Ukraine successively and steadily builds its foreign policy on the base of strictly sticking to principles of international law, UNO Charter and other international legal acts. At this stage the following three main ways of activity of Ukraine in foreign policy can be singled out: 1) development of bilateral intergovernmental relationships; 2) European and Euro-Atlantic integration; 3) multilateral diplomacy. There are two chief ways of activity of Ukrainian diplomacy in bilateral relationships: - relationships with neighbor countries; - relationships with strategically important partners and influential countries of the world. European and Euro-Atlantic integration first of all means the following: - further political and institutional rapprochement with EC and evolutional advancement to the end goal, integration of Ukraine to European Community and singing correspondent membership agreement; - adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to the norms of EC and Council of Europe as a key integration element; - intensification of relationships of Ukraine with NATO as one of the components of the overall system of European stability and safety. The following chief ways of activity in foreign policy can be singled out in the bounds of multilateral diplomacy: - maintenance of effective participation of the country in the activity of international organizations; - establishment of effective regional and subregional cooperation, increase of the role of Ukraine in regional and subregional organizations, forums and associations; - activation of activity in multilateral agreements in the field of disarmament including nuclear, actions of confidence, peacemaking and supportive operations, safety regimes and control mechanisms.
12. Nigeria is currently seeking membership of the United Nations security council non permanent seat and seeking for support of members, would Ukraine support her bid?
We can praise close cooperation between Ukraine and Nigeria within the framework of international organizations, where we have found a common language and established a mechanism of reciprocal support of candidates during the elections in various international bodies.
It is important to mark out that Ukraine cast her vote in support of Nigeria for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for the term of 2010-2011 and is looking forward to cooperate with Nigeria in the UN Security Council on every aspect of its important agenda.
In my personal opinion, Nigeria as one of the most powerful countries in the African region has a good reason to aspire to a non-permanent seat in UN Security Council for the term of 2014-2015.
In conclusion, I’d like to wish all reader of “Daily Trust” strong health and prosperity and family happiness.